Note: I only played the game for about 2-3 hours before getting bored so don't consider this an in depth review. It's just my thoughts on the few hours of gameplay I experienced; I made a marksman/saboteur/ranger rogue and a champion/beastmaster/warlord warrior. The game is currently in beta and is set to release in a little over a month.
Character Creation and Classes:
There are two factions and each faction has three races. Appearance wise the races are not vastly different. Each faction has a type of human and a type of elf. The Guardians have dwarves which are just short humans and the Defiant have Bahmi which are big, muscular purple dudes. I was a bit disappointed by the variety of races. However, what makes races stand out is the racials, which are very powerful. My Bahmi had an ability that increased attack power by 40% for 10 seconds! My human had an ability that caused me to be healed for half the damage I took for 25 seconds up to a maximum of 50% of my total hp. These are some very powerful racials.
Customization was better than what I've seen in other games like WoW or WAR but it still seemed a bit lacking. Even with all the options most of the faces I came up with looked around the same, some just fatter. It wasn't bad but it could definitely use some work.
Classes are what really make this game stand out, the class system in Rift is amazing and I'd like to see other games take from it. To start off you choose a role: Warrior, Cleric (healer), Mage, or Rogue. This roll sets some basic stuff but doesn't give you an actual abilities. For example choosing a warrior lets you wear plate armor and bases your combos around attack points. Certain abilities generate up to three points then you unleash them with a finisher. Choosing a rogue lets you wear leather armor and bases your combos around combo points which are nearly identical to WoW rogues.
Where it gets interesting is when you choose your "souls" these are like talent trees. You may choose three for your character and each grants you new abilities and access to that souls talent tree. As you spend more points in each souls tree you unlock new abilities. For example when I chose the champion soul for my warrior I gained a charge, an attack point building weapon based attack, and a direct damage finisher. After I spent some points in the champion tree I unlocked a debuff to apply to my target.
Each role has 7 different souls to choose from and a player can also choose how to distribute their soul points. This leads to an immense amount of possibilities for players to mix and match different souls and build a "unique" class. To view all the souls and to get a look at how much potential is here click here.
Not bad but not great is what I'll say here. I played it on ultra with max resolution and was not impressed. For an mmo its fine sure but for some reason I just did not like it much. In prefer the graphics of WoW or Age of Conan (which had amazing graphics). The graphical style and quality reminded me of Warhammer Online if any of you have played that.
The UI in this game is very, very similar to WoW's but still impressed me greatly. If you have played WoW you will learn how to play Rift very quickly and easily. What I liked about Rift was how smooth and easy to use the UI felt. It is completely customizable, action bars, the mini map, character portraits, etc can be moved around and resized which is very nice. The keybinding system is also very smooth and not clunky like WoW's. Rift keybinding works similar to the Bartender addon in WoW. Once you bring up the keybinding's menu you can simply hover over a space on your action bar and hit a key and it will be keybound, smooth and easy.
Bad, just bad. There are only two starting zones, one for each faction, and they are completely linear. You go from post to post along a straight path doing the same generic "Go kill Y of X" and "Go collect Z of B" quests. There were a few interesting ones like defending a position with an NPC but overall it was bland. There is a public quest system very similar to Warhammer Online's called Rifts. At random times a Rift will open in a location and monsters will pour out. Players in the area have to go through several stages of tasks and finally fight a boss. At the end they can roll on loot. I loved these in Warhammer Online and Rift does it quite nicely as well.
This is what killed the game for me. The combat system in Rift was simply not fun or satisfying for me at all. First off the animation quality is very poor and unengaging. None of my abilities felt or looked unique or devastating, overall the combat just looked bland. I appreciate some of the combo systems put into the game like applying debuffs or building up for a finisher but in the end it just felt like I was mashing buttons while my character twirled his sword around and the enemy just stood there in his boring combat stance and did the same. It's really hard to describe but I'll put it like this, the combat bored me and just didn't feel right, the choppy animations may be to blame.. I know in other mmos all you are doing is mashing buttons but in Rift it just didn't feel like anything was being accomplished. My favorite combat system in an mmo was Age of Conan; sure it was a bit clunky at times but abilities felt and looked unique and powerful. There was satisfaction with connecting a blow in AoC that is lacking in Rift.
You may notice that there is no PvP category here. That's because I got bored before I could reach level 10 on either of my characters so I did not participate in any PvP. The game has a lot of good ideas in it, especially the soul system, but the bland combat just killed it for me. I still encourage people to try Rift because I saw a lot of other people in game that were enjoying themselves, the game just did not intrigue me. Try it and see if you like it while it's still in beta.
Here's a beta key for Rift, they are supposed to work up to 25 times so you can share them with your friends:
If that doesn't work Zam is still giving away keys for free just create an account, the link is below.